T.C. said

News from Arbor Teas! Sustainability from Crop to Cup!

Hey all, we’ve just moved to a new office, unleashed a beautiful new website, and sourced some new great teas. It was about time for a press release. So here it is! Thank all of you Steepster reviewers for your support over the last couple of years. I know it’s made my experience working for the company so much easier with you guys and girls on my side :)


Arbor Teas, niche online retailer of organic tea, combines a couple’s passion for tea with their passion for the environment. Aubrey and Jeremy Lopatin, a husband and wife team of tea enthusiasts, started Arbor Teas in their hometown of Ann Arbor, Michigan, intent on creating a tea company as passionate about tea and the environment as they are. And while Arbor Teas has grown quite a bit since its humble beginnings in 2004 (its first website was built in exchange for painting their friend’s kitchen!), the passion remains to this day.

Arbor Teas’ daily mission is to find the world’s most fantastic USDA certified organic teas and deliver them to their customers as sustainably as possible. From its exceptional collection of organic and Fair Trade Certified® teas, to its Carbonfree® business practices and backyard compostable packaging, Arbor Teas’ passion is steeped in a desire to do worldly good, and its vision is to remain “organic to a tea.”

On the Arbor Teas website, www.arborteas.com, customers will find detailed information on how each step of the tea production, packaging, and distribution process has been designed to minimize environmental impact. Few realize that, pound-for-pound, the most carbon-intensive step in the tea delivery process is the final preparation by the consumer. With this in mind, Arbor Teas has also introduced Eco-Brewing Tips detailing how to prepare tea in the most Earth-friendly way possible.

Additionally, shoppers on the Arbor Teas website will find information on tea history and tea traditions, illustrated step-by-step how-to guides, an innovative “cooking with tea” section offering many recipes developed exclusively for Arbor Teas, and additional information on tea & caffeine and tea & health.

Arbor Teas began delivering its line of organic teas in 100% backyard compostable packaging on Earth Day, April 22, 2010. With the release of this next generation packaging, Arbor Teas continued to lead the tea industry through its staunch commitment to environmental business practices, becoming the first tea company to package its tea catalog in this exciting new material. The new packaging allows Arbor Teas’ customers to compost their tea leaves and tea packaging together in their home composting system!

Arbor Teas recently launched a new and updated version of its website, www.arborteas.com. In the highly competitive niche of organic loose leaf tea, this update positions Arbor Teas to rival that of other top-tier online tea retailers. The new website highlights Arbor Teas’ passion for top quality tea, of course, but also the environment, fair trade, and its community, as well as their dedication to prompt, thorough and friendly customer service. Co-owner Aubrey Lopatin states “Over the past 7 years, we’ve taken copious notes on how to make ArborTeas.com better and better. We’ve always offered excellent organic loose leaf tea, a deep commitment to sustainability, and excellent customer service – now we’re proud to offer an excellent website that does it all justice!”

Arbor Teas is an official licensee of Fair Trade USA, enabling it to retail Fair Trade Certified™ teas. Fair Trade USA, a non-profit agency, is the only organization providing independent, third-party certification of Fair Trade products in the US. Fair Trade promotes mutually-beneficial relationships between farmers and tea companies, and educates consumers about international trade and economic development. Through regular visits to Fair Trade farmer cooperatives, and partnerships with participating tea companies in the US, Fair Trade USA guarantees that globally-accepted fair labor and sustainability practices have been observed in the production of Fair Trade Certified™ products. By monitoring trade from crop to cup, Fair Trade USA guarantees that Fair Trade Certified™ products were grown and traded responsibly.


Contact Information:
Jeremy and Aubrey Lopatin
Arbor Teas
1342 North Main Street, Ste #4
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
[email protected]

30 Replies

AWESOME!!!! Congrats and keep on keepin’ on! YOU ROCK!!!!

Login or sign up to post a message.

It looks like you have a lot of great offerings. I don’t see any harvest dates on the green teas. Can you provide that information?

Login or sign up to post a message.

Kay Kanada said

Well, you sold me, that’s for certain! I mean, you guys are obviously my tea soulmates… All the best to you both in your business!

Login or sign up to post a message.

T.C. said

Thanks for the support everyone! You girls and guys are the best.

SimpliciTEA: I’ll check and see if I can get you that information – just sent an email to Aubrey, who works on most of the sourcing aspects :)

Login or sign up to post a message.

Thanks, I like my Arbor teas!

Login or sign up to post a message.

Much praise to you for a better community, better life and planet! Kudos!

Login or sign up to post a message.

T.C. said

Thanks :) And kudos to you too!

SimpliciTEA: I can get those harvest dates for you, but I have to request them on a tea-by-tea basis, so let me know if you are particularly curious about any of them :)

T.C. Thanks for looking into this and getting back to us. When I made my initial request, I was thinking about having access to the harvest dates for all of your green teas such that they are available on your website.

I assume, if you—as a tea retailer—make your presence known out here, then you are interested in listening to suggestions. If I am incorrect, then feel free to disregard the following.

Based on your website, and what you have posted here, I like many things regarding the way Arbor Teas approaches the tea business. However, I am not going to look very seriously at buying green tea from Arbor Teas or anyone else unless important information—like harvest dates—is easily available on your/their green teas. I feel this is reasonable to look for, and dare I say, expect, as many other tea retailers provide this information on their website—Tea Trekker, Jing Tea shop, Verdant Tea, Den’s Tea, Seven Cups, Teavivre, DeRen Tea, Life in a Teacup, China Cha Dao, Tea Spring, Stone Leaf Teahouse; those are most of the ones I am aware of (I am certain there are more).

As I am sure you know, most green tea has a relatively short shelf life—based not only on my extensive research, but also on my own experience—in the order of somewhere between six months to two years from the harvest date (under reasonable storage conditions, at least; that range could be even greater if storage conditions are more extreme). So, for example, right now, of course, there is no such thing as a spring 2012 green tea (unless it is some tea from some theoretical 12 month harvested tropical location that I am not aware of), so the best I can get now is a spring 2011 green tea. Less than a year or so from harvest date works for me. However, if it’s harvested in the spring of 2010, then I would only be willing to buy it at a significant discount, unless you can give me a good reason that the tea happens to be an exception (I am certain they exist), for the tea will approach—or possibly exceed—two years old by the time I finish drinking it. And if those dates aren’t available, then I have to be really interested in the tea to take the time to petition the tea retailer for more information about it; still, I may still buy it under those conditions if the tea is already significantly discounted (which is the only way I am willing to buy green tea from Teavana, for example). The reality is, I don’t want to invest very much time into even considering buying a green tea only to find out later that it was harvested almost two years ago (or longer).

ADDITION: I just did a little searching on the web, and although there are a number of tea retailers that do give harvest dates, there are still a surprising number that do not. What a great opportunity this is for you to set yourself apart form those that do not.

I personally would like to see the bar raised in the regard of making harvest dates easily accessible (not necessarily on flavored or blended green teas, mind you, just on the ‘pure’ green—and yellow—teas). I influence the raising of the bar by doing what I am doing right here: by making my wishes known.

So, T.C., I invite you (or challenge you, however you want to look at it) to join the companies listed above in raising that proverbial bar by getting access to those harvest dates and posting them on your website. Of course, that’s clearly your prerogative. I like what I see so far with you and your business practices (including your selection of organic and fair trade teas and your overall approach as to how you connect the consumer to the tea), or I wouldn’t be taking the time to write and post this. What say you?

Simplicitea, I’ve noticed that giving harvest dates is much more common with Chinese/Japanese tea companies & is not that common with US companies. Of course it never hurts to ask. ;-)

T.C.: Although you responded within a day or two to all of the previous posts, it’s been over a week since I have seen you post anything to this thread. There could be any number of reasons why. In case you did take me up on my invitation, I decided to check your website, looking for any harvest dates on your green teas, and I see no new information there (of course, if you have decided to add them, I understand that may take time). Since you have not responded yet to this thread (and I understand you may not even read what I am about to write), and after having had some time to think more about what really matters to me regarding my position in the world of tea, I am taking the liberty to post the following.

I like what Arbor Teas has to offer. From your website (http://www.arborteas.com/pages/carbon-offset.html): “We’ve taken a number of steps to minimize our contribution to global climate change, like offering exclusively organic teas, and using greener packaging, eco-shipping options, and green energy. … Until we can eliminate these carbon emissions entirely, we’ve teamed up with CarbonFund.org to offset them by promoting green energy, energy efficiency, and reforestation.” I really like your compostable packaging concept, too. I applaud you and Arbor Teas for all of your efforts, and I would like to begin to develop a relationship with you around tea (as I have with a number of other tea retailers out here on Steepster).

I judge you clearly have set the bar high for other tea retailers in regards to the environment and Fair Trade. Most of the ones I mention in my list of those who provide harvest dates on their green teas do not come close to doing what it looks like you are doing for sustainability of the planet (at least, if they are, I am not aware of it). In the larger scheme of things, eco-friendly practices and Fair Trade mean more to me than ease of access to harvest dates.

However, I don’t understand WHY, on a tea-by-tea basis, you can get me the harvest dates on request, but you can’t (or won’t) post them to your website. Quite honestly, I can’t think of any reason that would make it so difficult; unless—merely speculating—it’s too much information to manage, or some of your straight green teas are a blend of teas from multiple harvests with different dates, etc. Rather than speculate, I think it would be better if you just told us.

The more I think about this, and the more time I put into this, the more I realize the importance to me of some kind of response to my question. I plan to email you directly if you do not respond here within a week or so of this posting (again, I would only be guessing as to why you wouldn’t respond, if you didn’t). But, as I assume there is at least one other person with my question (a reasonable assumption, I judge), I would rather we all benefit by your reply, and not just me.

T.C. said

Hey, sorry about the delay – I was traveling and hadn’t had a chance to check in on Steepster! (Berlin / Oslo / Amsterdam, in case you were curious :p ). Thanks for your kind words about our sustainability efforts, that means a lot to us. I’ll go ahead and have a more serious talk with the people who manage that kind of information for Arbor Teas and see what I can come up with for you.

Thank you for your reply.

Again, my assumption here is that you are open to feedback. I have a few things to say, and I hope you are in a emotionally/psychologically ‘open place’ when you read this, otherwise, I invite you to return to it when you are (in that case, hopefully within the next day or two). With the intent of keeping this as respectful as possible, what I wrote below is, I judge, stated in a very forthcoming and direct manner, which may even be perceived as challenging at times. I invite you to keep that in mind if you chose to read the following. : )

I’m glad to hear you state that you are going to have a “serious talk with people who manage that kind of information for Arbor Teas”. But, what exactly does that mean? And, when do you plan to get back with me/all-of-us on Steepster? Furthermore, your response immediately begs the question, Who are “the people who manage that kind of information for Arbor Teas”? If it isn’t you, then you represent them, right? Your statement makes me wonder, Where do you fit within your company’s organizational structure? Are you one of the owners? I judge that most of the other tea retailers who have a presence out here are very forthright about who they are within the company. So if you are not the owner, or a manager with some kind of real authority in your company, can you tell me who is so I can contact them?

Although you didn’t tell us if it was related to your business or not, I think it’s great that you are traveling around the world. Either way, I don’t see overseas travel as an acceptable reason to stay out of touch with a discussion thread you started (I would be shocked if you could not access the web while away, as I know at least one person who is able to stay connected with online forums while on international travel).

And, honestly, I am sad that it took you so long to respond. Your much delayed response sends me the message that you aren’t interested in me as a customer—or even simply as a person who is passionate about tea—or you would have responded sooner. If you choose to start a discussion thread about your business out here, then I feel it is your responsibility to respond to questions—not necessarily compliments or general comments—within a reasonable amount of time. I judge 20 days—from the time of my second posting, it’s been close to a month from my initial question to when you responded—is not reasonable. I feel this indirectly speaks volumes about how you and your company does business.

All that to say, I am interested in hearing your response—and the opinion of anyone else following this thread—in regards to what I have posted. I realize my perspective is simply one amongst many (which may represent the perspective of many others whom, for various reasons, choose not to speak up here, or aren’t reading this particular thread, or aren’t even on Steepster), such that my feelings and judgements are my own. So, the more perspectives, the more valuable this conversation becomes.

I put much time and effort into my reply (as I did the previous two). And so, honestly T.C., I’d like a more well thought out reply from you than your previous ones. I would also hope to hear back from you within the next three to four days (given the circumstances I think you would have told me if it was going to be another month or so until you would choose to respond again). All that to say, I understand I may not get what I want.

I would rather keep this conversation as it is, within the container of this public forum. But, I recently chose to ‘follow’ you, so you can PM me if you wish to continue this conversation privately. (and you would then have to follow me if you wanted me to be able to send you a return PM.)

I hope you look at this as an opportunity not just to gain business relationships but to connect more deeply with others who are passionate about tea. : – )

T.C. said

Hi again SimpliciTea, hopefully I can do a better job of addressing your concerns this time.

To answer your first question about what exactly my previous statement meant, I will clarify a bit. I spoke with one of the owners (Aubrey) about the logistics of getting this information. I learned that all of our currently offered teas (with the exception of Pu Erh) are from the 2011 harvest, but more specific harvest dates can be requested from our suppliers. It is policy at Arbor Teas that once the new harvest arrives we always swap out our “old” stock for the new stock. We will begin to receive the 2012 harvest in mid to late summer. So I went ahead and offered to start contacting the various suppliers to see if it is feasible to get the harvest dates for individual teas and list them on our website – whether or not this will be possible is something that’s beyond my current knowledge, but I will get back to you once this is determined. In the mean time, all of our contact information is right here, if you’d like to reach out to the owners: http://www.arborteas.com/pages/contact-us.html (the [email protected] address is checked by the owners).

To answer your next question, I am a part-time marketing manager at Arbor Teas. I mostly handle social media outreach, some marketing research and web traffic analytics, and occasionally serve as a writer. I just graduated from the University of Michigan, and so I’ve been doing a lot of traveling, which can have the unfortunately side-effect of making my working schedule more sporadic. Once again, I’m sorry for missing your post while I was abroad. My mobile device allows me to check email, but web functionality is so poor that it made doing any more complicated work infeasible for me. Combined with a fast-paced travel schedule and trying to reconnect with family made this a difficult period to monitor all of our outreach. But in any case, I take personal responsibility for the delayed response. And so I would like to personally apologize to you for keeping you waiting: I’m very sorry for my lack of timeliness during this instance.

I definitely view Steepster as more of a way to connect with the tea-enthused rather than just a business arrangement. In fact, I was using Steepster as an individual before I ever suggested the idea that we use it for customer outreach. I was basically one of those people that ordered samples from a ton of vendors in an effort to expand my knowledge – I’m sure this sounds familiar to a lot of you :p

Thank you for your reply.

I appreciate your giving me more information this time.

It is good to get more specific information about the current status of the harvest dates of your teas, and I am glad to hear that you are contacting suppliers about specific harvest dates. I will be very interested to see what you come up with there. When you get them (even if it’s, “We can’t get them, and here’s why …”), if you could post the results here, I would appreciate that. Thank you for the owner’s contact information, too.

I really do appreciate you telling me specifically what you do at Arbor Teas. That makes me feel a little more comfortable in communicating with you (you could add that to your profile, btw). I certainly understand that doing any lengthy writing on a mobile device would be difficult at best. Still, I invite you to consider some way to stay in touch with any ‘discussion’ you start (even if it means posting some kind of ‘out-of-town’ message to the thread—which should only take a few moments).

Part of what I was not happy about was my judgement that you (evidently) took on more than you could handle (by, as a vendor, starting a discussion thread and then not being able to field timely responses). I also am guilty of over-scheduling my life at times (and my own personal goal of slowing down, keeping things simple, and taking on only those tasks I have time for certainly is a work in progress).

I would like to share with you one reason freshness in green tea is so important to me. I drink green tea not only for flavor, but also for the health benefits—for lack of a better phrase. The biggest ‘health reason’ I drink it for is the theanine. I don’t know how much you (or the owners) know about theanine in green tea, but from what I have read freshness is one of the biggest factors in determining which particular green tea has the most theanine (there are other factors, for example, like ‘shade grown’ in Japanese tea). If you have information to the contrary, I would be very interesting in hearing it, along with the source.

I do appreciate your willingness to respond to questions. So then, to a question that all of this has been leading up to (for me). As I mentioned earlier, I am assuming we are in agreement that green tea has a relatively short shelf life; meaning, after a year, the ability of most green tea to give of its treasured gifts is significantly reduced (from what it was when it was first harvested). So, the spring green teas that were initially available on your website in say, July 2011, for $X, is now still $X, but it has lost a non-trivial amount of it’s value in terms of flavor, freshness, aroma, theanine, anti-oxidants, etc., as it’s been about a year after the 2011 spring green tea harvest (I have seen scientific studies that support this measurable degradation after a year, not to mention my own experience). Certainly, in a few months from today (March), it will be a year from when you (I am guessing) first offered these 2011 green teas.

So, when you say you “swap out our ‘old’ stock for the new stock”, does that mean if I ordered green tea from you in June/July I could likely get the 2011 harvest? But if I ordered, say, a few weeks later, I could get green tea from the 2012 harvest? Are the prices for the 2011 and 2012 harvested green teas the same at that point? I am primarily interesting in buying fresh green tea. But, I am willing to buy green tea that is more than a year old if I know it is “old”, and it is sold, as it should be, at a discount. Certainly not all, but many tea shops do this (I would be happy to provide a list, but I know of at least a half dozen shops that do, including one of my favorites, Tea Trekker). I understand I will eventually be able to buy tea from the 2012 harvest from you sometime this summer. Still, until then, at some point will you be offering your 2011 harvested green teas at a discount? And if not, why not?

Thank you for reading this, and for any efforts into answering my questions.

T.C. said

I definitely agree that green tea is more sensitive to the passing of time than something that has already been oxidized. And there’s nothing quite like fresh green tea (hence the shincha craze that happens every year). We definitely send out an email when we get the new harvest in (and this will also be on our website), so if you want the absolute freshest we can offer, it’s best to wait until we announce that.

We usually donate our old tea to local non-profits or fundraisers. On occasion, we’ll have a sale before the new crop arrives but by in large we are usually sold out of the old crop just before the new arrives.

Thanks for taking such an active interest! I’m definitely a green tea person myself….nothing like a hefty dose of theanine to take the edge off :)

T.C.: Thank you for your response.

I didn’t reply right away because I wanted to take some time to think about how I wanted to respond to your answers to my questions.

Thank you for informing me regarding what you usually do with your old tea (I am glad to hear it). And I’m glad to hear you have sales on your year old green tea “on occasion”. I am also glad to hear you are a green tea person yourself; in some ways, that makes what I have to say in response to your answers all the more fitting. : )

I like to engage people in conversation. I also derive meaning by debating the finer points of certain topics. Although I realize many people do not, I happen to find meaning in the details; consequently, I like to hash them out with others who seem to have the willingness, and the ability, to ‘debate’, some of those finer points, if you will. In your initial discussion thread topic, you set the bar high by posting, amongst other things, the following: "From its exceptional collection of organic and Fair Trade Certified® teas, to its Carbonfree® business practices and backyard compostable packaging, Arbor Teas’ passion is steeped in a desire to do worldly good, and its vision is to remain ‘organic to a tea.’ " That all sounds great. I really like your BACKYARD COMPOSTABLE PACKAGING, and your organic tea and Fair Trade USA offerings. I think these things are great, and I believe Arbor Teas is passionate about the environment, and about people.

However, there are some things stated here that I am beginning to become skeptical about: "In the highly competitive niche of organic loose leaf tea, this update positions Arbor Teas to rival that of other top-tier online tea retailers. The new website highlights Arbor Teas’ passion for top quality tea, … Co-owner Aubrey Lopatin states ‘Over the past 7 years, we’ve taken copious notes on how to make ArborTeas.com better and better. We’ve always offered excellent organic loose leaf tea,’ " Of course, how to define a “top-tier online tea retailer”, and how ‘top quality’ and ‘excellent loose-leaf tea’ is defined, is very subjective.

So, why then, am I skeptical? My understanding is it’s accepted that, in general, a number of things in green tea degrade significantly after a year. Again, assuming all of your green teas are spring harvested (please let me know if they are summer of autumn harvested), then come this May, (two months from now) all of your green tea is roughly a year old (and if it was Pre-Qing Ming harvested tea, it’s roughly already a year old). And, you won’t get your new crop in for another couple of months from then. So, that means from now until mid to late summer, when you get the new 2012 spring green teas in, you are selling green tea that is close to, or at, a year old (by late summer, it would be well over a year old, and depending on when it was harvested, could approach a year and a half). So why continue to sell your green tea that is now old for the same price as when it was fresh almost a year ago?

“On occasion, we’ll have a sale before the new crop arrives but by in large we are usually sold out of the old crop just before the new arrives.” The above statement tells me you typically don’t put your old tea on sale. I feel this does not answer one of my original questions: Why do you typically not offer your old tea for a discount? Here is something I coincidentally ran into just today, that I want to offer to you to emphasize my concern over selling ‘old tea’ for the same price as ‘fresh tea’: (It’s an interesting video overall, but if you want to skip to the part about freshness, watch roughly 6:00 – 6:30) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F9zT5VZKHI0 I’m not saying James Norwood Pratt is the ‘authority’ on tea, but I think he does a great job describing what I have read, heard, and experienced myself regarding freshness of green tea. Again, if you doubt that the taste and other prized qualities in green tea is significantly degraded after a year, please let me know. I have all kinds of resources I can provide you with to back that up.

While I applaud you and your company for your environmental initiatives, and I am even willing to believe Arbor teas is passionate about “top quality tea” in some classes, I am not certain Arbor teas is passionate about “top quality tea” when it comes to green tea. Therefore, the decision to sell tea for the same price when it’s old as when it’s fresh does not give me much overall confidence in regards to Arbor Tea’s passion around tea.

So, although I could speculate as to why you don’t offer your old tea at a discount, I’d rather you give me a reason.

Again, I understand you may not chose to answer my question. You are certainly not obliged. And I applaud you for your forbearance so far.

Thank you for reading my post and for any reply you chose to make.

T.C. said

So far, our experience has been that our customer base is still very happy with the quality of our green tea, even in the months leading up to the switch to the new year’s harvest. If we received any complaints about the quality of these teas, we’d be more than happy to address these concerns and do whatever we could to ‘make it right.’ For those who are very concerned about the age of their green tea, you are absolutely correct that specialty green tea retailers exist to cater to their needs. In short, I suppose the best answer I can offer you is that the people buying our teas have been very happy with the quality of the product, regardless of purchase date, and so it just doesn’t seem necessary to adjust the price structure (with the exception of the occasional sale to liquidate stock when we receive the new harvest).

Because you’ve invested so much time and thought in our company, I’d be more than happy to provide you with samples of our teas (on the house, of course) so that you can judge their quality for yourself. I’m assuming that you would prefer the new 2012 harvest, and so feel free to email me directly when the time comes ([email protected]), and I’ll make sure we send you a package.

To address your original concern of us listing all of our harvest dates (rather than fetching them individually for those who request it), I have the following explanation for you from Aubrey:

“Jeremy and I have mulled this one over many times and decided not to post the harvest dates. We are happy to share them with anyone that asks and are certainly not trying to hide anything, but I think it will be too confusing for those who aren’t very well read on tea. For example, I worry about the casual tea drinker (during autumn) reading that the harvest date was from spring and thinking it is “old” tea even though it is actually from this season. Or the person who wonders why it takes 3 months to get to us from the harvest date. The system of how tea gets from the farm to retailers is not very well known by most customers. Further, Japanese processing is tricky and harvest dates and manufacture dates are equally important. They use a two-step system that actually stores the tea partially manufactured and then “finishes” it at a later date – this is TOTALLY different than manufacturing in other countries and somewhat skews things. Anyway, if the person you were in touch with is concerned, feel free to have him/her email me with further questions. If you have any further questions/ concerns, don’t hesitate to ask. "

I am grateful for your answers to my questions and how forthright you were in your last reply. I give you credit for your perseverance while reading and answering my questions. I don’t know about you but I have learned much from this exchange. : )

While I prefer that Arbor Teas post the harvest dates of their green Teas to their website, what Aubrey stated above certainly has merit. I appreciate her efforts (and yours) in providing us with a very detailed reason for their decision. This information gives me new insights into what the general tea drinking public knows about green Tea, as it seems many are not aware of the differences between ‘old’ Tea and ‘fresh’ Tea. I gather that I am quite possibly one within a very small group of consumers in the US whom is very informed about many of the ins-and-outs (including all of the wonderful subtleties) of green Tea. Part of my goal in my posting things out here on Steepster is to help raise the level of awareness regarding what makes drinking green Tea such a rewarding experience.

“The system of how tea gets from the farm to retailers is not very well known by most customers. Further, Japanese processing is tricky and harvest dates and manufacture dates are equally important.” I was looking for a link on Tea Trekker’s website to help explain this very phenomenon while composing my previous reply, but could not find it. The webpage helped me understand that Japanese Tea harvest dates—especially as they relate to freshness of the tea—seem to be a little more complex than with other Teas, as Aubrey pointed out. (here’s that link http://www.teatrekker.com/our-japanese-tea-post-earhquake )

I don’t know that I would call the tea retailers I have previously mentioned as “specialty green tea retailers”; I would place them more in the category you previously used to describe Arbor Teas: top-tier online tea retailers who are passionate about top quality tea. As Arbor Teas seems to focus on organic and fair traded Teas (something I like about them), I consider them—as well as many of the others—to be a Specialty Tea retailer.

As far as their decision not to discount their old green tea, it really helps that you gave me reasons as to why; what you posted is one of many reasons I was speculating about. I’d still rather that you did discount your green Tea at some point, but I certainly don’t begrudge them for choosing not to, especially if, as you say, your “customer base is still very happy with the quality of our green tea, even in the months leading up to the switch to the new year’s harvest.” I understand to be in business you need to stay profitable, so why change something that will impact your bottom line when there is seemingly no reason to? I also realize the details of your business plan may simply not allow for a change in your price structure. I am glad that you are at least willing to provide anyone who asks with the harvest dates, as this allows me to wait until the new years harvest comes out before making a purchase.

Thank you for offering to send me samples of your 2012 green Teas; that is very generous of you. I may take you up on that (come, as you mentioned, this summer). Ideally, I would like a sample of both the 2011 and 2012 harvested varieties of a few green Teas so I could do a side-by-side comparison. I think it should be feasible for my wife to help me do a blind comparison of the taste and aroma of the old vs. the fresh by keeping the conditions of brewing the same for both (by pouring the same temperature water into cups with the same amount of tea and steeping for the same amount of time, etc.). If your ability to send old tea with the fresh tea is too problematic though, I certainly understand.

Although only once (last spring) have I had the opportunity to experience brewing up and savoring a few spring green Teas (not long after being harvested), I have to say they were pretty amazing. It would be interesting to see if I could tell a difference in the flavor and aroma between the old (2011) and the fresh (2012) batches of your green Tea. I don’t know, it’s certainly possible I wouldn’t be able to discern any difference. Either way, I would enjoy reporting back with my results (even if I couldn’t find any difference, as surprising as that may be to me).

Having just looked at your website, here is a list of a few organic Chinese green Teas I would be interested in sampling: Organic Makaibari Estate Green Tea, Organic Nepal Green Tea, Organic Huang Shan Hair Tip Green Tea, Organic Mao Jian Green Tea, Organic Five Peaks Green Dew Green Tea, Organic Dragonwell Lung Ching Green Tea. I chose these for many reasons, but primarily because their names are familiar to me and they are all affordable (if I would decide to purchase any at a later date). I know that would be something I would communicate with you at a later date; I simply wanted to let you know I have a few specific green teas in mind.

Again, thank you, T.C. for staying with me in this conversation. : – )

Login or sign up to post a message.

kOmpir said

Congratulations! Will you start shipping your teas outside US soon (Europe, Non-EU countries)?

T.C. said

Unfortunately, our organic and Fair Trade certification limits us to sales within the US only. While we would like to offer international shipping (and hope to in the future!), it will not be anytime soon :(

Login or sign up to post a message.

Annie said

Any news on when Shui Xian will be back in stock?

T.C. said

Our supplier says that it’s currently “on the boat” over from China. It’s been taking a while, but should be here soon hopefully :)

I’ll send off another email to them and see if we can get any more specific information

Annie said

Thank you very much!

T.C. said

Good news! We just got word that this tea has arrived at port. Hopefully we’ll have it by late next week.

Annie said

That’s great news! I tried a sample of Shui Xian a few months ago and fell in love, I’ll definitely be getting some more. Thank you for the update!

T.C. said

Shui Xian Oolong is FINALLY back in stock! Thank you so much for your patience :)

Login or sign up to post a message.

SimpliciTEA – if you have any more questions for Arbor Teas can you please just contact them directly, I am sure they have a customer service number, I for one am getting a bit tired of this long line of questioning on Steepster, it seems a bit unnecessary.

I appreciate your choice to speak up, and I appreciate you for your boldness. You have inspired me to speak up, in kind.

I hear you when you state that you are “… a bit tired of this long line of questioning on Steepster …”. You have the choice to read (or not read) what I have written. This is an open forum. I judge that there may be others who have similar questions/concerns (neither you nor I can confirm or deny this). I happen to enjoy engaging others in topics that are, in this case, relate to tea. If you are tired of it, I invite you to choose not to read any of my comments (after all, no one’s forcing you). It’s OK with me if you don’t like my questioning, or my posts. That’s one of the things that is so great about blogs: you can chose to read, respond, or not read whatever you want.

I hear your judgement/opinion/point-of-view “… it seems a bit unnecessary.” You are free to judge, and you are free to voice your judgements, just as I am free to ask questions, no?

You can certainly do whatever you want, I just keep getting notifications for this topic although I am not subscribed and I don’t understand why you’re carrying on like this. I just won’t read any more of your comments, as you suggested.

In terms of getting notifications, I invite you to email Jason about that (if you aren’t subscribed).

Otherwise, sounds great! : )

Login or sign up to post a message.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.